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Cities Climate Law: A Legal Framework For Local Action In The U.S., Amy E. Turner, Michael Burger Nov 2021

Cities Climate Law: A Legal Framework For Local Action In The U.S., Amy E. Turner, Michael Burger

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

In the last several years, cities around the world have taken on a leading role in advancing policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, dozens of cities have set goals targeting ambitious greenhouse gas emission reductions by a date certain (80% or "net zero" by 2050 are common formulations), and many more have pledged to achieve a 100% renewable or carbon-free energy supply.

Many U.S. cities are still determining the policies that would best achieve their climate commitments. In addition to political, financial, and technical considerations, these cities must consider how to structure their policies to ...


Climate Attribution Science And The Endangered Species Act, Jessica A. Wentz Oct 2021

Climate Attribution Science And The Endangered Species Act, Jessica A. Wentz

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Climate change poses an enormous risk to plant and animal species across the planet. Mean global temperatures have already increased by approximately 1ºC, causing environmental changes that affect species abundance, distribution, behavior, physiology, genetics, and survival prospects. These changes, combined with other human stressors, have already resulted in the extinction of some species and imperiled many others. Some scientists describe this as the “Holocene” or “Anthropocene” mass extinction event. The fate of many vulnerable species will depend on emissions trajectories and mitigation efforts. But there is also a compelling need for adaptive species management in the context of a changing ...


Fixing The Business Of Food: Aligning Food Company Practices With The Sdgs, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sanda Chiara Lab, Barilla Center For Food And Nutrition Sep 2021

Fixing The Business Of Food: Aligning Food Company Practices With The Sdgs, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sanda Chiara Lab, Barilla Center For Food And Nutrition

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The food sector confronts significant sustainable development challenges. It both contributes to, and suffers from, environmental degradation, especially human-induced climate change and deforestation. Although it can provide farming communities with livelihoods and incomes, it also can fuel land grabs that undermine community rights and wellbeing. The sector feeds the growing global population, but also contributes to the epidemics of obesity and metabolic diseases, while chronic malnutrition has continued to worsen in the years since adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In light of these challenges and opportunities, a number of frameworks, guidance documents, and standards have aimed to create ...


New Tech, New Deal: Mining Policy Options In The Face Of New Technology, Isabelle Ramdoo, Aaron Cosbey, Jeff Geipel, Perrine Toledano Aug 2021

New Tech, New Deal: Mining Policy Options In The Face Of New Technology, Isabelle Ramdoo, Aaron Cosbey, Jeff Geipel, Perrine Toledano

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Throughout the history of mining, technological innovation has played a vital role across all cycles of mining projects. The new wave of technological adoption is a combination of evolutionary and revolutionary technologies, with an increasing focus on the latter. An acceleration in investments in disruptive technologies in recent years has seen the large-scale mining sector finally catching up with a dynamic that has already advanced in many other sectors. The reasons for this shift include more difficult geology, declining ore deposits, the need to reverse a secular decline in productivity, the need to improve safety for mine workers, a need ...


Carbon Accounting By Public And Private Financial Institutions: Can We Be Sure Climate Finance Is Leading To Emissions Reductions?, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Emily Spittle Aug 2021

Carbon Accounting By Public And Private Financial Institutions: Can We Be Sure Climate Finance Is Leading To Emissions Reductions?, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Emily Spittle

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

To further and fully understand how to plan for the decarbonization of mining value chains, we need better data on carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, neither consumers, corporates, or financial institutions know the embodied emissions in the products they produce or sell. While methods like life-cycle analysis and environmental product declarations exist, none use a verifiable, comparable, or widely adopted emissions reporting framework capable of sending supply chain signals.

To truly reform material supply chains, new solutions for markets, capital, and policy are required. COMET (the Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency) – an alliance launched at Davos in ...


Five Years After The Adoption Of The Paris Agreement, Are Climate Change Considerations Reflected In Mining Contracts?, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Mara Greenberg Jul 2021

Five Years After The Adoption Of The Paris Agreement, Are Climate Change Considerations Reflected In Mining Contracts?, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Mara Greenberg

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Domestic laws are the ideal legal instrument to regulate the mining sector’s contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Even so, as a stop-gap-measure, governments may consider updating model mining development agreements (MMDAs) or negotiating climate­-related contractual provisions. This CCSI paper explores whether governments are using, and how they can use, investor–state mining contracts to advance climate goals. We synthesize our findings and recommendations for six categories of provisions: integrating renewable energy into mining products, reducing deforestation, requiring a climate risk assessment and community vulnerability assessment, regulating water use, requiring tailings dam design justifications, and integrating climate ...


Responsible Coffee Sourcing: Towards A Living Income For Producers, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Margaret Sagan, Solina Kennedy Jul 2021

Responsible Coffee Sourcing: Towards A Living Income For Producers, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Margaret Sagan, Solina Kennedy

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Coffee, one of the world’s most popular beverages, provides livelihoods for at least 60 million people across dozens of countries. Promoting the long-term health, wellbeing, and environmental sustainability of the much beloved coffee sector should be a clear priority.

CCSI has continued its work on coffee sustainability with a 2021 report: “Responsible Coffee Sourcing: Towards a Living Income for Producers.” The report focuses on a critical but under-examined topic: the impact of coffee company sourcing practices on coffee producer and farmworker well-being. The report, commissioned by a long-term investment manager, analyzes the sourcing practices of ten large coffee roasters ...


Comparison Between The Ipcc Reporting Framework And Country Practice, Jiarui Chen, Martin Dietrich Brauch Jul 2021

Comparison Between The Ipcc Reporting Framework And Country Practice, Jiarui Chen, Martin Dietrich Brauch

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

To further and fully understand how to plan for the decarbonization of mining value chains, we need better data on carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, neither consumers, corporates, or financial institutions know the embodied emissions in the products they produce or sell. While methods like life-cycle analysis and environmental product declarations exist, none use a verifiable, comparable, or widely adopted emissions reporting framework capable of sending supply chain signals.

To truly reform material supply chains, new solutions for markets, capital, and policy are required. COMET (the Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency) – an alliance launched at Davos in ...


Guide On Incentives For Responsible Investment In Agriculture And Food Systems, Anna Bulman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Ladan Mehranvar, Ella Merrill, Yannick Fiedler May 2021

Guide On Incentives For Responsible Investment In Agriculture And Food Systems, Anna Bulman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Ladan Mehranvar, Ella Merrill, Yannick Fiedler

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

To support implementation of the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS RAI), CCSI has developed resources for governments and other stakeholders in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

This work includes an online course on creating an enabling environment for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. The course is freely available, accessible online and available for download. Part I highlights the features and key players of an enabling environment that promotes responsible investment in agriculture and food security. Part II addresses multi-stakeholder engagement in the design of legal and ...


Covid-19 And Land-Based Investment: Changing Landscapes, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Nathaniah Jacobs, Clarisse Marsac May 2021

Covid-19 And Land-Based Investment: Changing Landscapes, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Nathaniah Jacobs, Clarisse Marsac

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

CCSI, IIED, and Namati are partnering on a new initiative to support governments, civil society, local communities, and private sector actors in improving the governance and practices of land-based investments.

Recognizing that more and better private sector investment is widely seen as critical to advancing economic development and achieving the SDGs in low- and middle-income countries, this initiative responds to concerns that land-based investments have resulted in land dispossession, environmental degradation, and conflict.

The Advancing Land-based Investment Governance (ALIGN) project involves:

  • Sustained, in-depth work in up to three countries, including Sierra Leone, to support policy development and implementation, legal empowerment ...


The Case For A Climate-Smart Update Of The Africa Mining Vision, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Karan Bhulwaka, Kojo Busia Apr 2021

The Case For A Climate-Smart Update Of The Africa Mining Vision, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Karan Bhulwaka, Kojo Busia

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The 2009 Africa Mining Vision (AMV) provides guidance for the industrialization of African countries by leveraging their mining sector. However, the global context has changed since its adoption. As a result, it does not include guidance on how governments should embrace the climate change agenda as an opportunity for better and further industrialization, deeper linkages, and sustainable development.

There are many ways to look at the implications of international climate change policy for Africa, including through the increased extraction of minerals needed in clean energy application and the greening of mines. The localization of global value chains – induced by a ...


Transparency For Whom? Grounding Land Investment Transparency In The Needs Of Local Actors, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2021

Transparency For Whom? Grounding Land Investment Transparency In The Needs Of Local Actors, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Transparency is often seen as a means of improving governance and accountability of investment, but its potential to do so is hindered by vague definitions and failures to focus on the needs of key local actors.

In this new report focusing on agribusiness, forestry, and renewable energy projects (“land investments”), CCSI grounds transparency in the needs of project-affected communities and other local actors. Transparency efforts that seek to inform and empower communities can also help governments, companies, and other actors to more effectively manage operational risk linked to social conflict.

Troublingly, the report finds that:

  • Disclosures around land investments continue ...


Transparency Of Land-Based Investments: Cameroon Country Snapshot, Sam Szoke-Burke, Samuel Nguiffo, Stella Tchoukep Mar 2021

Transparency Of Land-Based Investments: Cameroon Country Snapshot, Sam Szoke-Burke, Samuel Nguiffo, Stella Tchoukep

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Despite a recent transparency law and participation in transparency initiatives, Cameroon’s investment environment remains plagued by poor transparency.

In a new report focusing on agribusiness projects in Cameroon, CCSI and the Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED) find that:

  • Communities continue to be excluded from decision-making around investments.
  • The government pursues a top-down approach to concession allocation and remains reluctant to recognize all legitimate tenure rights.
  • The government faces threats to its legitimacy as the grievances of citizens and investors alike lead to the barring of roads by communities and investor withdrawals.

CCSI and CED therefore call ...


Should The European Union Fix, Leave Or Kill The Energy Charter Treaty?, Martin Dietrich Brauch Feb 2021

Should The European Union Fix, Leave Or Kill The Energy Charter Treaty?, Martin Dietrich Brauch

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In the early 1990s, the European Economic Community – the predecessor of the European Union (EU) – spearheaded an initiative to promote international cooperation in the energy sector, particularly with post-Soviet States in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Out of this process the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) was born in 1994. Going much beyond international cooperation, the treaty allows foreign investors in the energy sector to sue their host States in international arbitral tribunals and claim monetary compensation when policy measures and other State action affect their interests.

Fast-forward to 2021. With 135 known cases initiated to date, the ECT’s is ...


Establishing State Responsibility In Mitigating Climate Change Under Customary International Law, Vanessa S.W. Tsang Jan 2021

Establishing State Responsibility In Mitigating Climate Change Under Customary International Law, Vanessa S.W. Tsang

LL.M. Essays & Theses

No abstract provided.


Nigeria’S Petroleum Industry Bill: A Missed Opportunity To Prepare For The Zero-Carbon Future, Solina Kennedy, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Perrine Toledano, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye Jan 2021

Nigeria’S Petroleum Industry Bill: A Missed Opportunity To Prepare For The Zero-Carbon Future, Solina Kennedy, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Perrine Toledano, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

With Nigeria’s National Assembly debating the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in the first quarter of 2021 – after nearly two decades of attempted reform of the country’s petroleum sector – Nigeria has a unique opportunity to rethink the role of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria’s economy and build out the country’s energy sector and economic capacity for the long term. CCSI’s report Equipping the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the Low-Carbon Transition, released before the PIB was publicized, advances suggestions on how to do so. The PIB takes notable steps toward much-needed reform ...


Presidential Progress On Climate Change: Will The Courts Interfere With What Needs To Be Done To Save Our Planet?, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

Presidential Progress On Climate Change: Will The Courts Interfere With What Needs To Be Done To Save Our Planet?, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

The Biden Administration is undertaking numerous actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition away from fossil fuels as part of the fight against climate change. Many of these actions are likely to be challenged in court. This paper describes the various legal theories that are likely to be used in these challenges, assesses their prospects of success given the current composition of the Supreme Court, and suggests ways to minimize the risks.


Legal Pathways To Biden's Climate Goals, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

Legal Pathways To Biden's Climate Goals, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Achieving President Biden’s goal of net-zero green­house gas emissions by 2050, with interim targets of being halfway there by 2030 and having entirely clean electric­ity by 2035, is possible with law and technologies that already exist or can be readily imagined. In the process, many more jobs would be created than lost, and aspects of the environment beyond climate change would be greatly improved. But it is a massive undertaking.


Making America A Better Place For All: Sustainable Development Recommendations For The Biden Administration, John C. Dernbach, Scott E. Schang, Robert W. Adler, Karol Boudreaux, John Bouman, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Kimberly Brown, Mikhail Chester, Michael B. Gerrard, Stephen Herzenberg, Samuel Markolf, Corey Malone-Smolla, Jane Nelson, Uma Outka, Tony Pipa, Alexandra Phelan, Leroy Paddock, Jonathan D. Rosenbloom, William Snape, Anastasia Telesetsky, Gerald Torres, Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner, Audra Wilson Jan 2021

Making America A Better Place For All: Sustainable Development Recommendations For The Biden Administration, John C. Dernbach, Scott E. Schang, Robert W. Adler, Karol Boudreaux, John Bouman, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Kimberly Brown, Mikhail Chester, Michael B. Gerrard, Stephen Herzenberg, Samuel Markolf, Corey Malone-Smolla, Jane Nelson, Uma Outka, Tony Pipa, Alexandra Phelan, Leroy Paddock, Jonathan D. Rosenbloom, William Snape, Anastasia Telesetsky, Gerald Torres, Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner, Audra Wilson

Faculty Scholarship

In 2015, the United Nations Member States, including the United States, unanimously approved 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs are nonbinding; each nation is to implement them based on its own priorities and circumstances. This Article argues that the SDGs are a critical normative framework the United States should use to improve human quality of life, freedom, and opportunity by integrating economic and social development with environmental protection. It collects the recommendations of 22 experts on steps that the Biden-Harris Administration should take now to advance each of the SDGs. It is part of ...


Using New York Law To Advance Equity In The Transportation & Climate Initiative Program, Hillary Aidun, Ama Francis, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

Using New York Law To Advance Equity In The Transportation & Climate Initiative Program, Hillary Aidun, Ama Francis, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Reducing pollution from the transportation sector is one of the most important steps to sustaining a livable climate. The transportation sector is the leading source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in both the United States and New York. Cars, trucks and buses also emit other harmful air pollutants that more immediately contribute to public health threats such as asthma, heart disease, and premature death.


Potential Tensions Between New York’S Climate Change Laws And Historic Preservation Laws, Michael B. Gerrard, Edward Mctiernan Jan 2021

Potential Tensions Between New York’S Climate Change Laws And Historic Preservation Laws, Michael B. Gerrard, Edward Mctiernan

Faculty Scholarship

For many years, designated historic buildings have been exempt from most energy conservation codes. However, with increased attention to the perils of climate change, some cities – including New York – are adopting strong laws on building energy use that do not have this exemption. Historic preservation laws that have not caught up, and some fire codes, may pose obstacles to the installation of rooftop solar and some other methods to reduce building energy consumption.


Review Of 2020 Cases Under Seqra, Michael B. Gerrard, Edward Mctiernan Jan 2021

Review Of 2020 Cases Under Seqra, Michael B. Gerrard, Edward Mctiernan

Faculty Scholarship

The courts decided 47 cases under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in 2020. Of these, in the great majority – 31 – the courts upheld, or at least left alone, agencies’ decisions that a particular action did not require the preparation of a full environmental impact statement (EIS); in seven the courts rejected such decisions; and in eight the courts upheld EISs that had been prepared. (One case was unclassifiable.) The Court of Appeals issued no SEQRA decisions in 2020.


How Biden’S Environmental Policies Will Affect New York, Michael B. Gerrard, Edward Mctiernan Jan 2021

How Biden’S Environmental Policies Will Affect New York, Michael B. Gerrard, Edward Mctiernan

Faculty Scholarship

As this column has previously discussed, President Joe Biden’s environmental policies are a sharp reversal of those of former President Donald Trump. Today’s column spotlights how this change will affect New York state and New York City.


Removing Carbon Dioxide Through Seaweed Cultivation: Legal Challenges And Opportunities, Korey Silverman-Roati, Michael B. Gerrard, Romany M. Webb Jan 2021

Removing Carbon Dioxide Through Seaweed Cultivation: Legal Challenges And Opportunities, Korey Silverman-Roati, Michael B. Gerrard, Romany M. Webb

Faculty Scholarship

Scientists increasingly agree that carbon dioxide removal will be needed, alongside deep emissions cuts, to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. A wide variety of technologies and strategies have been proposed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. To date, most research has focused on terrestrial-based approaches, but they often have large land requirements, and may present other risks and challenges. As such, there is growing interest in using the oceans, which have already absorbed more than a quarter of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, and could become an even larger carbon sink in the future.

This paper explores ...


Distributional Arguments, In Reverse, Alex Raskolnikov Jan 2021

Distributional Arguments, In Reverse, Alex Raskolnikov

Faculty Scholarship

This Article contends that the government should consider – rather than ignore – distributional consequences both in the design of legal rules and during legal transitions. This does not mean that the distributional effect of every legal rule should be measured and taken into account in the rule’s design. But if the likely distributional effects are unintended, large, and objectionable, if the efficiency of the legal rule is doubtful, if the compensating tax-and-transfer adjustment is not forthcoming (or has not occurred), policymakers should take distribution into account. One way of doing so is to choose among several alternative legal rules of ...


Removing Carbon Dioxide Through Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement And Seaweed Cultivation: Legal Challenges And Opportunities, Romany M. Webb, Korey Silverman-Roati, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

Removing Carbon Dioxide Through Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement And Seaweed Cultivation: Legal Challenges And Opportunities, Romany M. Webb, Korey Silverman-Roati, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

This paper explores two ocean-based carbon dioxide removal strategies – ocean alkalinity enhancement and seaweed cultivation. Ocean alkalinity enhancement involves adding alkalinity to ocean waters, either by discharging alkaline rocks or through an electrochemical process, which increases ocean pH levels and thereby enables greater uptake of carbon dioxide, as well as reducing the adverse impacts of ocean acidification. Seaweed cultivation involves the growing of kelp and other macroalgae to store carbon in biomass, which can then either be used to replace more greenhouse gas-intensive products or sequestered.

This paper also examines the international and U.S. legal frameworks that apply to ...


The Legal Framework For Offshore Carbon Capture And Storage In Canada, Romany M. Webb, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

The Legal Framework For Offshore Carbon Capture And Storage In Canada, Romany M. Webb, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Averting catastrophic climate change requires immediate action to prevent additional carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. However, even that may not be sufficient, with many scientists now warning that it will likely also be necessary to reduce the existing atmospheric carbon dioxide load. That could be achieved using negative emissions technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store or utilize it in some way. One promising technology is direct air capture (“DAC”) which uses liquid chemical solutions or solid sorbent filters to capture carbon dioxide from the air and concentrate it into a ...


Principles Of International Law And The Adoption Of A Market-Based Mechanism For Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Shipping, Hillary Aidun, Daniel J. Metzger, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

Principles Of International Law And The Adoption Of A Market-Based Mechanism For Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Shipping, Hillary Aidun, Daniel J. Metzger, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Emissions from shipping are a significant driver of human-induced climate change. International action to date has not succeeded in setting those emissions on a sustainable trajectory. The International Maritime Organization has committed to implementing an effective, international approach to tackle international shipping’s contribution to climate change.

This paper considers international law principles, exploring whether and how these principles may provide a basis for the IMO to address those contributions. The polluter pays principle, which counsels that whoever produces pollution should cover the costs their pollution imposes on others, is a doctrine of international law that offers strong support for ...


America's Zero Carbon Action Plan: Federal Legislative And Administrative Framework, John C. Dernbach, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

America's Zero Carbon Action Plan: Federal Legislative And Administrative Framework, John C. Dernbach, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter sets out proposed federal laws and policies for America's Zero Carbon Action Plan, a comprehensive report on how to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This chapter sets forth recommendations for all four pillars of deep decarbonization – electricity decarbonization, energy efficiency and conservation, electrification of transportation and buildings, and carbon capture. It is supplemented with recommendations for significant reductions in emissions of non-carbon dioxide pollutants, as well as for changes in foreign policy. Each set of recommendations is accompanied by an explanation of the underlying strategy for the proposed changes.


Next Mayor Will Inherit Job Of Implementing 2019 Law Setting Building Emissions Caps, Michael B. Gerrard, Edward Mctiernan Jan 2021

Next Mayor Will Inherit Job Of Implementing 2019 Law Setting Building Emissions Caps, Michael B. Gerrard, Edward Mctiernan

Faculty Scholarship

Whoever becomes New York City’s next Mayor will need to pivot quickly to implementing a collection of laws adopted in 2019 and bundled together as the Climate Mobilization Act. These laws are designed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York City by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Because 70% of the greenhouse gases emitted in New York City are generated by how New Yorkers heat, light and power buildings, the Climate Mobilization Act includes Local Laws 92 and 94, which require that new buildings or buildings undergoing major roof renovations include solar ...